This time I'm writing to you all about Assistive Technologies.
First off, what IS assistive technology, you may ask? Well, good question!! I found the answer for you (Thank goodness for google, right!!)
"Assistive Technology for kids with learning disorders is defined as any device, piece of equipment or system that helps bypass, work around or compensate for an individual's specific learning deficits" (Great Schools. Involved Parents. Successful Kids, 2010, para 4). So, according to this it can be anything, right!?! YES! So basically assistive devices can be anything from a computer key board to a light switch! It sounds much more complicated that what it really is. Basically it is anything made simpler to help a child achieve his/her goals and compensates for those problem areas.
Right, so we had Trev come speak to us from STAR mobility and Disability Center. He showed us a heap of toys and fun. Here's a link if you want to go have a look at the things they sell:
The one item that stood out to me most was the iTalk2. I had seen it before, but somehow I was only just able to fully appreciate what it is used for and all the benefits it holds for both the client and the therapist.
Here's a picture so you can see what I'm talking about:
So, I thought this was quite a neat toy! :) Turns out, it is so much more than a toy!
Have a look:
Its quite neat isn't it?! So I saw it used on placement where the child was asked what she wanted to eat. It was amazing because it showed that she understood the question. And she understood the relevance of her answer!!
Alright so this isn't the best video, but surprisingly enough, there aren't many on YouTube!! So this one shows how the voice has been recorded, and when he presses the button, he get the response he asked for by pressing the button. She the first few times he pressed the yellow button, it meant "bubbles". Then when he started pressing the red one, he got give the ball. See how it works? Yes, it's quite neat :)
Anyway, so there are two concepts that I think fits in really well with this tool. And they are occupational deprivation and occupational transition.
Firstly, Occupational Deprivation - So I feel that sometimes (and I've seen this in placement) that when there is a non-verbal child, he/she gets treated completely different to all the other children, they also don't get heard (obviously) but what I'm trying to get at is that we often overlook those who are non-verbal. We like it that way, less complaining!! But is that right? We're taking away from their quality of life then, aren't we? So they are being deprived of the childhood they deserve. Okay, so they're seen as 'disabled' or 'not normal' - whatever that means but they need to be given the opportunity to live and learn the way that all the rest of us do!! So this tool gives us as OT's the ability to present them with this opportunity to speak!! To raise their voice! To give their opinion and be heard! Isn't that amazing!?? That's awesome, I reckon.
The second one is Occupational transition.
Now, I've mentioned that this is a good tool to use to allow them to be heard. But what of their needs, their wishes and goals? Have you ever considered how frustrating it would be to have no cognitive disabilities but you cannot verbalize anything!?!? Have you!? I cant imagine what I would do! So here's to community reintegration! This is one step closer to their participation in society! If only we'd let them tell us what they want to do, we can allow them to participate in those activities. Things that might never have been an option. But now it can be! This is exciting stuff!!
But I better leave you there, otherwise I'll rant on forever and break my key board.
Right, hope you find this all very exciting! It was exciting learning about it all. Can't wait to get working!!
Have a good one!
Liberator (n.d.). italk2 communicator. Retrieved from http://www.liberator.co.uk/italk2.html